Former President John Dramani Mahama has criticized the New Patriotic Party government for its inhumane approach to dealing with illegal small-scale mining in the country.
According to him, the government’s deployment of a joint police and military task-force to rid the country of the illegal small-scale miners is counterproductive.
He indicated that the government must make available a livelihood package for the sustenance of unlawful miners after leaving the illegal mining sites.“…it is true that if we don’t do something about it, it will destroy the environment. But we need to apply wisdom. Because we’ve chased young people involved in illegal small-scale mining with soldiers in the past in this country but it didn’t work.”
“But if we put a blanket ban and send soldiers after the young people, that is not the way to go. As you stop illegal small-scale mining, at the same time you must put in place a livelihood package so that as you are displacing people from illegal mining, they have something to do….But when there is nothing to do but you are just chasing them, shooting them, it is not the way to go,” he said.
John Mahama said the government must rather focus its energy on revising the country’s mining laws to regulate the operations of illegal miners rather than forcing them out.
He noted that regulating their work will enable them to make ends meet to provide for their dependents.
“We [NDC] decided that we will bring a new mining law that will regulate galamsey that persons who do it well will be able to sustain themselves…So immediately, the [Akufo-Addo] government must look at these regulations and come up with good policies so that those who want to do it, will do it within the law,” he said.
‘Operations of the anti-galamsey task force.’
The anti-galamsey task-force was deployed to three regions; Ashanti, Western and Eastern about five months ago, to help fight and sustain the campaign against illegal mining, which was started by Citi FM a year ago.
Their operations have resulted in the arrest of illegal miners including foreign nationals, mainly Chinese.
The deployment of the joint police and military task-force came as a major boost to government’s fight against illegal mining in the country, following news of its devastating effects on the country’s land and water resources.
The gov’t ban on small-scale mining
The government placed a six-month ban on all forms of mining until further notice but later extended it indicating that the desired results have not been seen yet.
This is however in spite of appeals from licensed small-scale miners who say the ban is negatively affecting their livelihoods.
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